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Caribou Plain Trail

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Caribou Plain Trail gallery

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Quick Facts

Difficulty accessible, easy
Trail Type loop
Distance 2.6 km
Estimated Time 1 hr
Surface Type boardwalk, crushed rock
Elevation Change 27 metres
Features bog, lake
Trail Markers orange triangles
Scenery Rating features
Maintenance Rating well maintained
Cell Reception not checked
Dog Friendly on a leash
Fees yes

Description

The Caribou Plain Trail is the most accessible trail in the park. The first small loop is a boardwalk that takes you through a wide stream valley and loops around by a small bog. The second larger loop goes through a mixed, older forest. At the end of the larger loop there are two side trails that take you out to lookout platforms on Caribou Lake. Caribou Lake is a small lake that is surrounded by a mossy bog.

A boardwalk out to Caribou Lake on the Caribou Plain Trail at Fundy National Park

There are many interpretive signs along the trail describing the history, the landscape and the animals of this area. Bogs are breeding grounds for flies so make sure you bring bug spray if you are visiting this trail in the summer season. Another technique we use is to try to walk fast so the flies can't catch us. This works but it makes it harder to enjoy the trail.

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Directions

For directions to the park go to the Fundy National Park page.

From the visitor centre near Alma take route 114 up the hill. After 10.3 kilometres you will come to the road into the parking lot for the Caribou Plain Trail on the left. Park here. The trail leaves from the right and the end of the parking lot.

The boardwalk at the start of the Caribou Plain Trail at Fundy National Park

From the Sign

Happy Explorations!

How you can experience more of Fundy National Park

This short trail has guided you through mixed forest, through softwoods, hardwoods, and bog. As you walk this old carriage road back to your car, consider how this very ordinary cross-section of forest has interested you: What caught your eye? Did anything surprise you? If you would like to explore more of the park, consult the park newspaper Salt and Fir for other interpretive trails, attend an interpretive walk or program, or explore a hiking trail on your own. Trail descriptions and maps are available at information kiosks.

Happy Explorations sign

In addition to the forest, the main features of Fundy National Park are: deeply carved river valleys punctuated with pools and waterfalls, old fields and cultural remains, and of course the coastline and giant tides of the Bay of Fundy.

From the Sign

Caribou Plain

This trail was named for the herds of woodland caribou that lived here until 1907. It is a 3.4 km loop, and will return you to the parking lot - a leisurely 1 1/2 hour walk. Although you won't see caribou, you will see many plants and animals typical of Fundy's mixed forest, perhaps even white-tail deer and moose. Interpretive signs along the trail will point out the differences between four plant and animal communities -- mixed forest, softwood forest, bog, and hardwood forest.

Caribou Plain sign

From the Sign

Caribou Plain Bog

How a flark is formed and even the mighty moose gets mired

This bog has been growing for more than 8,000 years. It is a giant mound of sodden peat, four metres deep at this spot. Sometimes, rotten spots appear in a bog where peat has decomposed and been turned into a slurry. As dangerous as quicksand, these are called flarks. Since this trail was built, at least two mooose have been trapped by the flark between here and the lake. Both were found and pulled out. One survived, the other died beside the trail in October 1981. Please stay on the boardwalk.

Caribou Plain Bog sign

From the Sign

Between Snow Melt and Summer Shade

How the forest floor reflects changes in the season

Summer's leaves tumble to the forest floor in October, forming a protective winter blanket for understory plants and small animals such as spiders, insects, woodmice, salamanders, and shrews. During the winter, plants and many animals lie dormant in the soil while hungry shrews hunt down voles and other prey in their snowy labyrinths. Spring's wildflowers blanket the sun-dappled ground from late May to early June, until sunlight is filtered away by overhanging tree leaves and fern fronds. In the shade of summer, ferns and evergreen clubmosses thrive in the rich humus.

Between Snow Melt and Summer Shade sign

From the Sign

Bog Bonsai

How plants adjust to the difficult growing conditions of the bog

These tiny spruce ad larch trees are as old as the tallest trees in the surrounding forest. The acidic peat in which these dwarfs grow is almost totally lacking in oxygen and mineral nutrients. So stunted are they by life in the bog that some have lived for 150 years or more without producing a single seed. Insulated from mineral soil by thick layers of peat, bog plants must survive on nutrients carried in by wind, rain, and fog. Others lure, trap, and digest insects and other small animals, taking advantage of the nutrients in the bodies of their prey.

Bog Bonsai sign

Trail Last Hiked: July 16, 2011.

Page Last Updated: January 5, 2023.